Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ten Hours on the Road

We start two hours too late, but I am not stressed. The road is open, the Jeep running like it's 100,000 miles younger than it is, and the Hondo Valley is as beautiful as I've ever seen it, every shade of gold, green, and brown. The music is good, Ryan, Gillian, three Hanks, and Don; the kids are happy and we are having a wonderful time, the first we have had together in far too long.
Outside of Roswell the kids rebel and the country music has to go for a while, we agree on 80s and as we cover the emptiness that is the road from Roswell to Portales I am pleased to find that my kids know the words as well as I do. It's an amazing thing, having kids, they really are extensions of ourselves, little pieces of us that continue into the future after we are gone, carrying our tastes, likes, dislikes, beliefs, loves, hurts, and fears into another generation until, hopefully, passing them on again. I am a king with my court, all yielding me the right of way as we pass through towns named for cattle. Will my grandchildren sing at the top of their lungs to Meatloaf as well? I hope so.
We talk and laugh, give up on music and listen to two hours of Dane Cook's comedy, Emily saying over and over how much she loves that guy. We bet on how long it will take to get to the next town at the current speed (80 mph), and they win Shamrock shakes from the McDonald's in Shamrock, Texas, only to find that they don't do them year-round anymore. They settle for a Dr. Pepper and a twisty cone.
The next hours are subdued, back to country for a while as the flats of western Oklahoma skim by. In Oklahoma City, the sun now down, we race a hottie in a blue Pontiac with California tags, losing her somewhere near Tinker Air Force Base. Emily takes control of the music and I cringe, the generational music drift does not work as well in this direction, but I find that I can sing along to even a song I truly despise (it has only six words, after all) and she soon relents and puts Cake on. My hope for the future is reaffirmed.
At my folks', ten hours after we started, I get out and breath the thick, warm-for-November air, my sinuses reconstitute, and I feel younger. The next morning I wake to the smell of sausage and coffee, two of the most wonderful aromas on Earth, and sit down to eat with my favorite people on the planet, on the fifteen acres of land where I feel most at home, thinking of others I wish I could share this with.

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